Volodymyr Zelenskiy, president of Ukraine, dismissed criticism from Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday, saying the former Italian prime minister had not experienced daily shelling and blackouts brought on by Russian airstrikes.
Zelenskiy was questioned about Berlusconi’s comments this month that he would not want to meet Zelenskiy and blame him for Russia’s war in Ukraine during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Berlusconi, leader of the conservative Forza Italia party that is part of Italy’s ruling coalition, is an old friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zelenskiy told the news conference it was important how the Italian public viewed Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine and that Ukraine could feel support from Italy at the moment.
“Mr. Berlusconi, it seems to me, has never had his house bombarded with missiles every day. And thank God his partner from the Russian Federation didn’t drive a tank into his house and destroy his relatives and close ones,” he said.
“I think Mr Berlusconi has not had to get up at three in the morning because of blackouts to start washing clothes, making food for his children two days in advance because there may not be power for the next two-three days because of the great love of the brotherly Russian people,” he said.
Russia launched a campaign of air strikes against Ukraine in October, striking critical infrastructure and causing regular blackouts and other power outages.
He said he thought Berlusconi would benefit from travelling to Ukraine to see with his own eyes the “bloody trail left by the brotherly Russian Federation”.
“Then we can talk at the same level,” he said.